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Former theatre professor dies

Richard G. Smith, an associate professor emeritus in the Theatre Department, died March 8 at Lourdes Hospital.

Smith, who came to the University in 1969, was a teacher, director, actor, sound designer and former director of production programs. Smith, 78, also helped found the Cider Mill Playhouse.

“Dick was a great theater person,” said department Chair John Vestal, who worked on about 50 shows with Smith. “He had a great sense of humor. He had done everything in his career.”

Vestal recalled working with Smith and his wife, Elynor “Noni” Smith, also a founder of the Cider Mill Playhouse, on the show The Gin Game.

“I did some of my best work, both sets and lights,” Vestal said, “and Noni and Dick were just perfect for the


Smith held doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. “He was a very dedicated teacher,” Vestal said, “and I know that students were always in his office.”

Smith retired from the University in 1994 but continued acting and commercial work.

Smith is survived by his wife, a son, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will take place at a later date at the Cider Mill.

Memorial contributions may be made to the John and Vi Bielenberg Scholarship Foundation at Binghamton University in care of the BU Foundation, P.O. Box 6005, State University of New York, Binghamton, N.Y. 13902 or to the Cider Mill Playhouse, 2 S. Nanticoke Ave., Endicott, N.Y. 13760.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08